Contemporary New Adult
Received from publisher via NetGalley
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.
Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…
Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…
True is an utter delight to read, giving us characters rich in personality and charm who live lives full of a gritty realism we can't help but appreciate. Family plays a huge role in this story, with Rory and Tyler's families shaping them into the people they are and influencing their lives in both healthy and unhealthy ways, adding light and shadow to their worlds and creating a heartbreaking beauty through the contrast. While Rory and Tyler's romance does follow a predictable path to its conclusion (would we really want to read a romance that didn't end happily for the couple though?), at every crossroads in their relationship–both minor and major–Rory chooses the road so often less traveled in young adult and new adult fiction, opting to save herself and Tyler from unnecessary drama and in doing so completely winning us over.
Though typically in a romance like this the tattooed, sexually-experienced boy with a troubled past would be the swoon-worthy standout, the character who occupies 90% of our hearts and leaves only a measly 10% for the heroine and secondary characters, it's Rory who is the highlight. Normally a young woman who is exceedingly honest and often blunt can cross the line from endearing to abrasive, coming across as cool and indifferent and thereby keeping both those around them as well as readers at arm's length. Rory never once crosses that line, her honest approach to all situations with Tyler something we want to wrap around our shoulders and snuggle into because we find it so blissfully comforting.
When Rory is unsure where she stands with Tyler, she simply asks him. When they have an argument and he tries to leave without a resolution in place, she goes after him, explains how his actions made her feel and coaxes him to do the same. She never demands a certain reaction from him or throws the weight of her anger or embarrassment around, instead she puts herself out there first and asks through word or deed that he help her to balance on the fragile tightrope they're walking with their relationship, and in response he's able to open up to her in a way he never has with anyone else. The two of them together feel solid and genuine, and just as they trust the other with their hearts, we know we can trust them with ours, free to fall madly in love with them without worrying it will all blow up in our faces with cruel games, revenge antics, or monstrous miscommunications.
Overall, True is everything we could wish for when we crack the spine, love, laughter, and life splashed on the pages in all their glory and their pain, sweeping us of our feet with a bit of realistic escapism and then returning us firmly to the ground with a grin of supreme satisfaction when it's all over.